Rhizobox Monitoring Systems

Rhizobox / Root box
Design examples rhizoboxes, A4-size.

Rhizobox / root box systems of different designs are used to i) separate rhizosphere soil from bulk soil, ii) are a feasible ways to study different aspects of soil–root interactions, iii) to measure root growth, turnover and depth distribution and iv) to sample defined root types (e.g. age classes, orders). The flat surfaces allow for space optimized placement (e.g. important in growth chambers) and easy picture acquisition by standard or customised flat bed scanners.  Rhizobox images can be analysed with free or commercial software programs (see bottom of page). 

Sugar beet cultivar imaged with RGB camera. (c) Image property of Gernot Bodner, BOKU.
Sugar beet cultivar imaged with RGB camera. (c) Image property of Gernot Bodner, BOKU.

Rhizobox imaging. We are currently in the final phase of developing a scanner system for large rhizoboxes not fitting commercially available scanners (A4, A3).  This is foreseen to solve stitching or reflection problems as common with camera-based imaging (see image on the left) and to increase the user friendliness, repeatability and interpretability (especially in regard to segmentation).  Stay tuned.

Software to analyse Roots in Rhizoboxes (examples)

Please check the Plant Image Analysis Webpage (carefully collected by Guilliaume Lobet and colleagues) for further software packages allowing root analysis.

[Vienna Scientific Instruments is not responsible for the content of external links. ]

Selected studies using rhizoboxes / root boxes for plant and soil studies

  • Beyer, F., D. Hertel, K. Jung, A.-C. Fender, and C. Leuschner. 2013. Competition effects on fine root survival of Fagus sylvatica and Fraxinus excelsior. Forest Ecology and Management 302:14-22.
  • Gonkhamdee, S., A. Pierret, J. L. Maeght, V. Serra, K. Pannengpetch, C. Doussan, and L. Pages. 2010. Effects of corn (Zea mays L.) on the local and overall root development of young rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Muel. Arg). Plant and Soil 334:335-351.
  • Hylander, L. D. 2002. Improvements of rhizoboxes used for studies of soil–root interactions. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 33:155-161.
  • Spohn, M., A. Carminati, and Y. Kuzyakov. 2013. Soil zymography–a novel in situ method for mapping distribution of enzyme activity in soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 58:275-280.
  • Yao, Q., H. H. Zhu, J. Z. Chen, and P. Christie. 2005. Influence of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on competition for phosphorus between sweet orange and a leguminous herb. Journal of Plant Nutrition 28:2179-2192.